Wednesday, March 23, 2011

evidence of extrajudicial death squads emerging in mexico

Video - Gen. Bibiano Villa - like a Robert Rodriquez character

narconews | Leaked State Department Cable Claims Juárez Business Leaders Hired Former Zetas for “Protection”

The drug war in Mexico has been depicted in the mainstream media, for the most part, as a conflict between brutal, rival “drug cartels” that are in a pitched battle over territory and for survival as the Mexican military seeks to restore order under the leadership of the brave and resolute President Felipe Calderón.

A U.S. State Department cable released last week through WikiLeaks pokes yet another hole in that bogus narrative, however. Given that fact, it is no surprise that the cable has been essentially ignored by the mainstream media, save one small daily, the El Paso Times — located in a U.S. border city across from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which registered more than 3,100 drug-war murders last year alone.

Diana Washington Valdez, a veteran drug-war reporter for the El Paso Times, in a March 16 story about the WikiLeaks cable, reported that a syndicate of Juárez businessmen hired a group of former Zetas (a paramilitary narco-trafficking group) to “protect themselves against kidnappings and extortions.”

The acknowledgement in an official U.S. document of the existence of this vigilante paramilitary group, which is funded by wealthy Juárez businessmen and has close ties to the Mexican military (the Zetas were founded by former Mexican special forces operatives), provides us with an important insight into the dynamics of the violence of the drug war in Mexico.

A similar alliance of former soldiers and wealthy business leaders (landowners) was the genesis for Colombia’s ruthless, right-wing paramilitary force known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) [United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia]. The AUC grew out of a smaller vigilante death squad called Los Pepes, which was established in the early 1990s to battle narco-trafficking as well — in particular, the notorious Colombian bandito Pablo Escobar. The AUC, however, itself eventually became a major player in the narco-trafficking business and spread terror across Colombia by murdering thousands of Colombians — particularly those deemed to have leftist leanings, such as labor organizers and human rights activists.

The WikiLeaks cable, drafted by the U.S. consulate in Juárez in late January 2009, provides the following description of the Pepes-like paramilitary group established in Juárez:
There have been indications that local businesses are taking a different approach to self-protection, that of vigilantism. In October, the press carried stories of business people forming paramilitary groups to protect themselves from extortionists and kidnappers. On November 28 [2008], seven men were shot dead outside a school a few blocks from the Consulate, and placards were hung over their bodies (a fact not reported to the public) claiming that the executions were carried out by the `Yonkeros Unidos (United Junkyard Owners of Juárez)'.

In another notorious incident, a burned body was left outside a Juárez police station with its amputated hands each holding a gas fire starter, and with a sign saying that this would be the penalty paid by arsonists. During the week of January 11 [2009] an email circulated through Juárez, claiming that a new locally funded group called the `Comando Ciudadano por Juárez (Juárez Citizen Command, or CCJ)' was going to "clean (the) city of these criminals" and "end the life of a criminal every 24 hours."

City and state government officials have argued that there exists no evidence of a vigilante movement in Ciudad Juárez, and that the messages by the CCJ are a hoax. A Consulate contact in the press, however, suggests that the CCJ is a real self-defense group comprised of eight former `Zetas' hired by four Juárez business owners (including 1998 PRI mayoral candidate Eleno Villalba). According to the contact, the former `Zetas' paid a visit on local military commanders when they arrived in Juárez in September 2008, and purchased previously seized weapons from the army garrison. According to the contact, the former `Zetas' pledged not to target the army, and made themselves available to the army for extrajudicial operations. [Emphasis added.]
In addition to illuminating the cozy relationship between the Mexican military and this vigilante paramilitary group empowered to carry out “extrajudicial [outside the law] operations,” the State Department cable reveals a concern that the Mexican army itself may well be taking sides in Juárez’ drug war.

“The view is widely held that the army is comfortable letting the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels diminish each other's strength as they fight for control of the "plaza" (with a corollary theory being that the army would like to see the Sinaloa cartel win),” the State Department cable states.


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